By C. C. FISHER
Artifacts spanning the history of time are presented at the Museum of Peoples and Cultures due to the help of student curators.
The BYU Anthropology Department offers a two-year class that culminates with a showcase of the student’s work, said Shane Baker, curator of the Museum of Peoples and Cultures.
The class is Anthropology 299R, and enrollment is limited to two to three students. The class is taught by Marti Allen, professor and associate director of the museum, and is reserved for junior and senior students.
Students spend the first two semesters learning about museum designs and displays. For their final project and semester, they gather information and artifacts to create a museum exhibit.
“Students play a very active roll from start to finish on all our exhibits,” Baker said.
For the Follow the Sun exhibit on display at the museum, students worked for months gathering artifacts and information pertaining to the Northern Ute culture, Baker said.
Inside the exhibit is a sound booth with traditional and contemporary Ute music. A loud, steady drum beat, accompanied by human voices fill the spacious room. The music was produced by Dan Frewin of Springville, Utah, and was performed by Windstar.
“The kids love the music station,” said Heather Seferovich, coordinator of public programs for the museum.
To gather information on traditional Ute music, dances and other cultural identifiers, students consulted Clifford Duncan, a traditional religious Ute leader, and the Cultural Rights and Protection Office.
“Many of the Ute leaders were afraid that the Ute culture was not being preserved, so their has been a resurgence of traditional teaching,” Baker said. In fact, Baker said that many Ute leaders still speak the Ute language.
Many of the artifacts in the exhibit have been preserved in the Mildred Miles Dillman Collection. “Mildred was an LDS lady who lived on the Ute reservation near White Rocks and Roosevelt during the early 1900s. She had a love and interest in the Ute culture,” Baker said. “She would ask the Ute ladies, ‘Make me one of those sagebrush bark skirts,’ and they would. Many of the things Mildred collected are no longer made by the Ute.”
Dillman has passed away, but her family has retained her collected artifacts.
The Follow the Sun exhibit will run through July 1998.